Thursday, June 25, 2015

Idolatry? Here? || analyzing the human heart


In Isaiah 44, the prophet Isaiah speaks to the people and rebukes their idolatry. Now you might say, "Idolatry, I understand that happened in other countries, other nations, and in other points in history. But there is no idolatry now, is there?" 

Well, every day in a thousand ways I am tempted to make myself the center of the universe. I am tempted to make my problems, pains, desires, top priorities in my life. A priority over Christ. I become my own idol.

And then there are other kinds of idols. The idol of materialism, the idol of sex, the idol of significance, the idol of wealth, and so many others that are characterized and baptized into orthodoxy within the framework of contemporary culture. 
Isaiah 44:6 says, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god."
What a staggering claim into our post-modern thinking. "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god."
"... Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any." -Isaiah 44:8
In Isaiah 44, verses nine through eighteen, Isaiah speaks on the folly of idolatry.
"All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame." -Isaiah 44:9
And then Isaiah says, the person that shapes a god and casts an idol, will profit him nothing and he and his kind will be put to shame. Craftsman are nothing but men. Let them all come together and take their stand. They will all be brought to terror and to infamy (Isaiah 44:10-11). 

And then Isaiah goes down the line (He is having fun with this, as you see he illustrates it with metaphor and simile) and says look at man as he works with his chisels and his compasses, as he forms these things and puts them in shrines and so, goes out in the forest and gets a block of wood (Isaiah 44:12-14). But look, in verse fifteen it's man's fuel for burning: "Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it" (Isaiah 44:15). 
"Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand." -Isaiah 44:16-18
Now look at this wonderful line here, verse nineteen: "No one stops to think..." Twentieth century left us a legacy, if you like, ugly twins: mindlessness and meaninglessness. How does this feel to you? What does this mean to you? Which side steps any notions of truth? 

But when you come to the Bible, it confronts us all the time. No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Wait a minute, half of this I use for a fire, I bake bread over its coals, I roasted the meat and I ate it. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?" (Isaiah 44:19).
"He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand?'” -Isaiah 44: 20
Now it is in contrast to that, that the Bible confirms that Jesus is the source, the sustainer, and the goal of all created reality. This is a staggering claim, but this is Biblical Christianity. 
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth..." -Colossians 1:15-17
"There is not one inch in the entire area of the human life about which Jesus does not cry, 'This is Mine. This belongs to me!'" -Abraham Kuyper
What are you putting your faith in?
Are there idols in your life that you have been holding on to? 

All text from a post originally written in 2012, updated in 2015 © Footprints in the Sand, inspiration from Alistair Begg's sermon Jesus Our King part 1 | Image © 2015 Charity Klicka, taken of the Houses of Parliament in London, England.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Father


I'm so grateful to get to celebrate my dear daddy. I would truly not be who I am today without his love, his faith, his inspiration, and all the teaching he put into my life.

I love, and miss, him immensely.

And most importantly, today I celebrate my Heavenly Father. He who called me, redeemed me, and loves me unconditionally. It is He I live for, fight for, and will die for.


All text and All Images © 2015 Footprints in the Sand

Monday, June 15, 2015

Keep Going | WEEKLY QUOTE


This is more of a saying than a quote, per se. But it's a saying that's been a part of my life and one I often say to myself in the tough times.

My dad got Multiple Sclerosis (MS) the year I was born. And it was an ongoing battle for him until his death. But through all the really rotten days and nights, he still gave all the glory to God. And not once did I hear him complain. He'd continually say, "I got to keep on keeping on". And indeed, he did just that until the very end. May I walk in his footsteps and have the courage to keep going. 

Keep On Keeping On.



Monday, June 8, 2015

have the courage | WEEKLY QUOTE

That's what it comes down to: the courage to lose sight of the shore. Fear of the unknown is a crippling thing, to be sure, but we won't know what lies across the sea unless we're willing to venture out in to it. 

But the beauty of it is that we don't go the journey alone. We have the Master seaman, our Captain, guiding the boat safely to the other side. That doesn't mean there won't be treacherous storms or giant sea serpents. And very likely, all hell might break lose. But it does mean we have a sure foundation in Him, through it all.

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he
has the COURAGE to lose sight of the shore."
-André Gide 


All text and All Images © 2015 Footprints in the Sand

Thursday, June 4, 2015

meadow-sweet freshness || Wind in the Willows

"The rich meadow-grass seemed
that morning of a freshness and
a greenness unsurpassable.
Never had they noticed ... the
meadow-sweet so odorous
and pervading."

-Kenneth Grahame,
The Wind in the Willows, Ch. 7


What's the weather like in your part of the country (or world)? It's been windy, rainy, cool, and mysterious. And it just so happens I particularly like that kind of weather, seeing as it's much of what the weather in Scotland is at this time.


All text and All Images © 2015 Footprints in the Sand

Monday, June 1, 2015

give up self - WEEKLY QUOTE


I know I may be going against the crowd when I say this, but I hold fast to the belief that "only Jesus Christ can help us discover and become who we are meant to be"*. In his conclusion to Mere Christianity (one of my favorite books, of all time), C.S. Lewis explains this very belief so well:
The more we get what we now call “ourselves” out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of Him that millions and millions of “little Christs,” all different, will still be too few to express Him fully. He made them all. He invented—as an author invents characters in a novel—all the different men that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to “be myself” without Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call “Myself” becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call “My wishes” become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men’s thoughts or even suggested to me by devils...
Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most “natural” men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints. 
But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking at Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.**
Truly, giving our very selves fully over to Christ is the only way we can discover who we are, who Christ made us to be and our purpose in life, to discover the riches of His grace and love, and the only way to truly live. It certainly can be a frightening concept, but once you've given yourself wholly to Him, "your only regret will be that you didn’t do it sooner"*.



*commentary context inspired by and in-text quotes from C.S. Lewis Institute's Reflections - September 2011 - Finding Our True Selves || **C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp 190-191 || All text and images © 2015 Footprints in the Sand || I added a bit of commentary to the aforementioned quote back in 2012, check it out here: Look For Him